October 3rd was my mom and dad's 61st wedding anniversary. Her first one without him.
There was nothing special to celebrate the day, as there had been for the past 60 years.
There wasn't the usual going-out-to-dinner-with-all-the-family celebration.
No re-cap of the story of how my parents met, or the details of their wedding.
No mention of their early days of marriage.
No card shower.
However, the thought of her spending that day alone was unacceptable to me. I wanted to be there with her.
So right after we finished our school lessons that morning, we headed to her house.
(I didn't know what to expect when we got there; her 80th birthday was on September 16th, and naturally, it being the first one without my dad in 60+ years, was a very hard day for her.)
But when we walked in the door, she greeted us with her usual smile and a hug for each of us.
We had lunch with her and spent the afternoon talking, doing a little sewing, and taking a walk.
Of course, we talked about Dad...how could we not talk about him??
Considering the occasion, my mom did wonderfully.
Considering what has happened to her, my mom has done wonderfully.
She has told us many times that she couldn't have made it through Dad's passing without our love and support.
But I couldn't have made it through this without her love and strength. She is the strongest woman I know, and has proven it time and time again over the past 5 months.
The Lord has used her to keep me afloat in this sea of grief. And I would have been swallowed up by it months ago if it wasn't for her.
Oh sure, all the cards, visits, phone calls, etc, were comforting. But early on, and still today, the Lord has used her.
Not to take the glory from the Him; after all, He uses people to minister to us, doesn't He?
And He has used her in a mighty way in my life these past 5 months. One of my sister's has told me she feels the same way; our mom has brought us through this.
When I think about how distraught I am about Dad's passing, the Lord reminds me of Mom. She had a husband for 60+ years and now....he's gone.
No one to cook for. Only half as much laundry to wash.
Not as much cleaning to do.
No one to have meals with, unless one of us is there.
And this fall is another first: fall was Dad's favorite season. He loved the nip in the air, and the colors on the trees. But this year, Dad isn't here to sit on the porch with her and enjoy the beautiful scenery.
And next Thursday: the first Thanksgiving without him.
Next month: the first Christmas without him.
I can't begin to imagine how hard it has been for her. But when we ask how she is doing, she always says she's "doing ok". She tries to hide her grief to protect us and keep us from worrying about her. This woman thinks of everyone else above herself. She always has. In the midst of this extremely difficult time, she continues to minister to others: taking food to sick ones, visiting in the nursing home, sending cards, making phone calls to check on shut-ins, etc.
Acts 9:36b describes my Mom so accurately: "This woman was full of good works and charitable deeds which she did." What a godly example she is to everyone who knows her!
My husband put it very eloquently the night before the funeral. He said, "Your Mom is like a precious gemstone: the hotter the fire, the brighter she shines."
As we continue to make our way through this grieving process, my prayer is that the Lord will continue to uphold my Mom and that her faith will become even stronger...and that I will endeavor to live up to her legacy of strength.
Have a lovely day, friends.
"Strength and honor are her clothing; she shall rejoice in time to come." ~ Proverbs 31:25